DENVER – The Milwaukee Brewers’ offense finally broke loose a bit but it wasn’t enough.
After tying the game in the ninth inning, the Brewers lost to the Colorado Rockies, 6-5, Friday night at Coors Field on C.J. Cron’s single with no outs in the bottom of the 10th, scoring the runner placed at second base.
The defeat was the fifth in a row for the Brewers, who fell to 6-5 in extra innings. In their previous four losses, they scored only seven runs so the offense broke out somewhat but saw potential rallies thwarted by four double-play grounders and several hard-hit balls right at defenders.
Cron’s hit came off Devin Williams, who had just come on to pitch the 10th for the Brewers. He took a 2-2 fastball on the outer half the other way to right field to score runner Ryan McMahon without a play.
The Brewers trailed, 5-4, entering the ninth but quickly went to work against Rockies closer Daniel Bard. Omar Narváez led off with a double to right and Willy Adames followed with another to left, quickly tying the game. Bard then put himself in deeper trouble by hitting Luis Urías with a pitch.
A drive to deep center by Jackie Bradley Jr. moved Adames to third as the potential go-ahead run with one down. When Jace Peterson worked Bard for an eight-pitch walk, the Brewers had the bases loaded with one down and a chance for a big inning.
But, with the infield in, Kolten Wong hit a sharp grounder right at second baseman Brendan Rodgers, who came home for the out. Pinch-hitter Derek Fisher then went down swinging and the game remained tied, 5-5.
Desperate to snap the losing streak, manager Craig Counsell summoned Josh Hader in the bottom of the ninth merely to keep the game tied, and he did so by retiring the side in order on a mere seven pitches. That put the Brewers into their 11th extra-inning game of the season, so they are getting quite accustomed to the runner-on-second deal.
Afterward, Counsell said he had no intention of using Hader for more than an inning.
“At this point, we’re looking at Josh for one inning,” Counsell said. “That’s what he’s been doing. He has had a busy workload, so that’s how we’re looking at Josh right now.
Facing former Milwaukee pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, the Brewers failed to score in the 10th, beginning with a liner to center by Christian Yelich that Garrett Hampson charged in to catch with a diving effort. Chacin, who had a 6.57 ERA in 11 relief outings with a 1.641 WHIP, then struck out Avisaíl García and Narváez.
Corbin Burnes struggles for second straight game
There was a time earlier in the season when taking a 4-1 lead with Corbin Burnes on the mound would have spelled early doom for opponents. But Burnes turned in his second consecutive poor outing for the Brewers, allowing eight hits, two walks and four runs over 5⅓ innings.
Including his previous outing against Pittsburgh, Burnes has surrendered 17 hits over 9⅓ innings, with five walks and eight runs (seven earned). Over that span, his earned run average has climbed from 1.97 to 2.62.
“Those guys that have played here got used to it and can throw the ball well here, it’s pretty incredible,” Burnes said of pitching in the high altitude of Coors Field. “We had some opportunities to make some pitches tonight and we just didn’t get it where we wanted to.
“The cutter was just elevated. I threw a lot that just kind of spun and didn’t really have the cutting action to it. Something I pair with the cutter a lot to lefties is the changeup, and so it makes the cutter not quite as effective when you don’t have that changeup to go the other direction on the outside of the plate. It made it tough to throw it to lefties and then to righties tonight, it just didn’t have the same cutting action glove side.
“So, it’s something we’re had to pair with sinkers going in and some curveballs. We threw a couple decent sliders tonight. It’s frustrating, obviously, to have two outings like this in a row, but it’s a part of the game and I’ll have a good work week this week and get back after it.”
The Rockies mounted a two-out threat against Burnes in the first inning when Charlie Blackmon drew a walk and motored to third on a single to right-center by Trevor Story, who then swiped second. Burnes stranded those runners by catching Ryan McMahon looking at strike three.
Burnes did not escape unscathed in the second inning but a web gem prevented a much bigger inning. The inning went a bit sideways when pitcher Antonio Senzatela singled with one on and two down for his first hit of the season in 20 at-bats. Raimel Tapia knocked in a run with an infield hit – a sharp grounder that shortstop Adames snared with a dive up the middle but didn’t have a play.
After Hampson’s single loaded the bases, Blackmon sent a shot toward right-center. Wong, in his first game back from the IL, ranged over to glove the ball on the outfield grass, then whirled and made a perfect throw to first for the third out, shutting down the rally.
Brewers offense comes to life but double plays hurt chances for more
Urías tied the game for the Brewers with one swing of the bat leading off the third inning, sending a 1-1 changeup from Senzatela out to left for his eighth home run of the season.
With runners on the corners and one down in the fourth, Narváez grounded back to Senzatela for a rally-killing double play, the fifth GIDP for the Brewers in the first 13 innings of the series. But they finally broke through with a decent rally in the fifth.
After Adames and Uriás opened with singles to again put runners on the corners, Bradley Jr. shook free of his season-long slump for an at-bat by ripping a two-run double to right-center. With one down, Wong had the leather turned on him when Cron made a diving stab to his right to rob him of an RBI single but McMahon booted a grounder to third by Daniel Vogelbach to allow another run to score for a 4-1 lead.
Rockies score in three straight innings to take lead
The Rockies shaved a run off that margin in the bottom of the inning, and again it could have been worse for Burnes. After Tapia led off with an opposite-field double, Burnes hit Hampson with a 0-2 curveball that missed by a lot.
The runners moved up on a groundout and Story followed with a liner toward the corner in left. Christian Yelich raced over and made a nice running grab to rob him of a two-run double, limiting the damage to a sacrifice fly that cut it to 4-2.
After McMahon turned a 0-2 count into a walk, Burnes finally escaped the inning when Cron flied out to right.
Colorado was not done coming after Burnes, however. Rodgers led off the Rockies sixth with a double down the left-field line and scored on a one-out double by pinch-hitter Yonathan Daza to make it a one-run game, ending Burnes’ night.
Lefty Brent Suter took over and struck out Tapia looking but the Rockies came through with another double as Hampson grounded one past the diving Urías at third to tie the score, 4-4.
Brad Boxberger took over for the Brewers in the seventh and paid for a one-out walk to McMahon. Rodgers cashed it in with an opposite-field double into the right-field corner, putting the Rockies on top, 5-4.
Saturday: Brewers at Rockies, 8:10 p.m. Milwaukee RHP Adrian Houser (4-5, 3.62) vs. Colorado LHP Austin Gomber (6-5, 3.54). TV: Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio: FM-94.5.